At-Home Resources for Citizen Historians, Librarians, and Archivists

Apr 10, 2020

Did you know April is Citizen Science Month? Science comes in all shapes and fields, including history, library science, and archives. You can celebrate discoveries, inspiration, and ground-breaking research right from your own home — check out the always-available resources below to jump in!

There are many opportunities for volunteers of all ages and experience levels to turn historical handwritten and printed documents into searchable digital resources. Something you transcribe or catalog might very easily be used by researchers all over the world. In this article, we’ve shared a few interesting virtual volunteering programs from museums, libraries, and schools around the world.

Foodies and history buffs collide in this unique collection from the New York Public Library. Grab a (virtual) historical menu and transcribe the text for clearer search results, while part-time philosophers can help transcribe the work of Jeremy Bentham, via the Bentham Project at University College London. According to the project’s website, “These transcripts will make it easier for anyone to access and read Bentham’s papers and will be used by scholars at the Bentham Project in the production of the edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham.”

Amateur archivists can help piece the past together by transcribing oral history recordings with the New York Public Library, peruse letters from everyday life during the 19th and 20th Centuries with Newberry Transcribe’s over 51,000 pages in need of transcription,  The Library of Congress is always looking for contributors to transcribe, tag, and review items in their many collections, and so is the National Archives continuously looking for citizen archivists.

From menus to manuscripts and everything in between — what does your citizen science look like?


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